With one of the biggest wins in school history — regardless of sport — in tow, the Notre Dame Titans’ volleyball program now sits within one game of its dream goal.
But to accomplish its dream goal, Kelsey Glockner and the Notre Dame Titans’ volleyball program know that nothing less than an ‘A’ effort will be required when the Lady Titans square off against the Lady Knights from Fairfield Christian Academy in the Division IV, Region 15 Finals, which will be held on the campus of Lancaster High School on Saturday evening.
Fairfield Christian Academy, who enters the regional final with a record of 24-3, is led by Blaire Barr, a 5-9 junior who leads the team in nearly every statistical category, including kills (337), attack percentage (.348), aces (60), blocks (53), and service receptions (364). Barr also sits second on the team in serving percentage with a 94.7 mark.
In addition to Barr, Sophia DiGiannantoni, who has obtained 637 assists, 175 digs, and 40 aces in 2017, along with Celeste Mershimer, who has added 326 digs and 51 aces to the table this season, are among the players to watch during the match. Olivia Koehler (303 kills) and Kaylin Dewese (191 kills) provide help to the FCA frontline.
However, the Lady Titans, who tore up the Division IV ranks en route to its 21-5 overall mark, have the Lady Knights beat in virtually every statistical category, as Fairfield Christian Academy holds just a .214 overall attack percentage for the season. Additionally, each of the Lady Knights’ three losses (Dublin Scioto, Worthington Christian, Shekinah Christian) came to teams that won a combined three postseason contests (all credit to Shekinah), and only two units in the the Mid-State Cardinal League that FCA won outright (Berne Union, 16-8; and Grove City Christian, 15-9) finished with winning records.
As for Notre Dame, the Lady Titans — who haven’t lost a game to a Division IV opponent all season — are led by Lexi Smith, who has been nothing short of outstanding for Notre Dame. Smith, who obtained team-highs in kills (14), digs (13), and aces (three) in Notre Dame’s 3-0 victory over Waterford in the second of two Division IV, Region 15 Semifinals held on Wednesday evening, leads the Lady Titans in kills (472), attack percentage (.471), digs (289), blocks (87), and aces (75). Smith is also second on the team in service receptions, with 189, to round out what has been a spectacular effort from the 6-0 senior in 2017.
Behind Smith, Katie Dettwiller, who has been outstanding over the last three games with 36 kills and 12.5 blocks to her credit, has also been strong throughout the season, obtaining 203 kills on a .396 attack percentage and 57 blocks for the year to help aid the frontline. Clara Hash (214 digs, 197 kills, 37 aces) and Cassie Schaefer (722 assists, 144 digs, 60 aces, 96.2 serving percentage) complete a frontline that is among the best in Division IV.
However, there is plenty of additional talent that is evident, especially in the form of Notre Dame’s backline. Ali Smith (248 digs, 184 service receptions, 42 aces, 97.8 serving percentage) leads a group that also includes Ava Hassel (128 digs), Taylor Schmidt (250 service receptions, 193 digs, 25 aces) and Alex Glockner (143 service receptions, 107 digs, 25 aces).
With a victory on Saturday over Fairfield Christian Academy, Notre Dame can add to its first-ever regional tournament volleyball victory on Thursday evening by making its first-ever appearance at the OHSAA State Final Four with a win. The Lady Titans will play the Lady Knights at 2 p.m. at Lancaster High School for that right.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT